In a span of fifteen days, three City of Milwaukee fires took the lives of seventeen children and three adults. One fire resulted in the deaths of 12 people. This had been the worst single residential fire tragedy in Wisconsin's history. The impetus for the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety began during that fifteen day period in 1987.
Then Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier created a task force to address the fire threat seriousness of Milwaukee's citizens. Representatives from many organizations met to attempt to find a solution. After many months of intense interaction the task force gave its report. Simply, the task force analyzed that fire safety education, especially with the youth of the city, would be the key element to reduce tragic fires. As a state, as a city, and as an organization, the lesson learned was that we needed to educate, from an early age on, the members of our community, in order to prevent a repeat of that tragedy.
After two years of planning, some of the original members of the Fire Safety Task Force were recruited along with several other fire safety minded state personnel to conduct a charter meeting coordinated through the Milwaukee Fire Department. The Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety (WAFS) was born that day, June 22, 1991. On March 17, 1992, the Alliance obtained its present 501(c)3 status with the help of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl's office.
Sponsoring such programs as the Summer Camp for Burn Injured Youth, the Burn Center Golf Invitational benefiting local hospitals and education programs, and the Juvenile Fire Setters programs, the Alliance is dedicated to being a fire safety and prevention resource for the State of Wisconsin.